April 4, 2017
At the 2016 San Diego Congress, the INC formed the new Business Integrity Committee (BIC). The committee consists of INC Board Members Michael Waring (Committee Chair), Stephen Meltzer (Chairman of the INC Ambassadors Committee), Karsten Dankert (Board), Pratap Nair (Board), Giles Hacking (Board), Mark Mariani (INC Chairman) and Goretti Guasch (INC Executive Director).
Recently a significant number of INC members were affected by business defaults. Although not a new phenomenon, the recent impact on USA Walnut and Almond exporters combined with a highly attended USA hosted Congress brought the discussion of the integrity of members to the fore.
A member forum was held in San Diego. The forum included panel members Giles Hacking, Argo Dermenjian, and Michael Waring as Chair. INC engaged renowned USA Lawyer Andrew Wanger to assist with the panel. The session and discussions were a highly anticipated event and forum attendance was at capacity. The question and answer session was blunt and message clear: INC members expect a base code of conduct be followed by fellow members. Defaulting businesses and their Directors are not welcome as members or at the INC Congress.
In October 2016, the Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to the amendment of INC By law Article 3 “Founding Aims of the Foundation” inserting new item 8: “To promote integrity and good business practices in the nut and dried fruit sector”.
Industry participants that wish to be or remain members need conform to a base standard of integrity, especially in regards compliance with directions of arbitration and judiciary acknowledged in their contracts. INC is within its rights to expel and/or not accept companies and/or individuals that do not comply with these decisions.
BIC will advise INC on defaults, industry integrity issues and review the impact on members. BIC will specifically recognize The Nut Association (UK), Association of Food Industries AFI (USA), Waren-Verein (Germany), and will consider other jurisdictions.
INC and BIC encourage all Members to seek advice in regard to contract formation, enforceability and relevant dispute settlement mechanisms. Correct and basic contract structure will assist in enforceability between buyer and seller.
The old adage of “Know your Customer” or “Know your Supplier” has never rung truer than in the current fast moving world of international trade. The INC will continue to provide an exceptional opportunity to grow your contacts and relationships within an environment conducive to and under a membership code of conduct that will make you proud to be a member, and sought after as a partner in business.